HOW TO FIND PRODUCT MARKET FIT

Find below how to find product-market fit. Learn how to calculate how long it takes to find product market fit. Definition, survey questions, best frameworks, metrics and pyramid. How to know you have product market fit.

Written by Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist and training facilitator at eDigital.

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HOW TO FIND PRODUCT MARKET FIT

PRODUCT MARKET FIT CHECKLIST

  1. People will pay before it goes live! Are people willing to pay you for your product even before you launch it? Send them an invoice with the benefit of getting early access to your product. Nothing will be a better signal of interest and PMF if you can get people to put down money before you have a product. Try this even if it’s a product that you won’t charge for (free app, free website) This will show you how much value you’re creating for potential loyal customers.
  2. Rapid organic growth is driven by word of mouth. The only way you know if you’ve built what customers want is because they are using it in an explosive and destructive way. If you are not getting explosive usage you are not building what customers want, or there aren’t that many customers which means you don’t have a big business. The key question is: Do users love my product so much that they spontaneously tell other people to use it?
  3. The Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC) is lower than Life Time Value (LTV). You have found product-market fit when you can repeatably acquire customers for a lower cost than what they are worth to you. It means there are enough customers out there and you can efficiently bring them in.
  4. Retention metrics. Plot the % active users over time (for various cohorts) to create a retention curve. If it flattens off at some point, you have probably found a product/market fit for some market or audience. Look at a group of people that tried your product over a period of time (e.g. during one month). Then look at how many of those people continue to use your product later (e.g. 12 months later). You will have a fairly deep drop-off in the first month, but that’s ok. What you want to know is, does it flatten somewhere? If it flattens, that means there is a group of customers that are finding value in your product, which means you have PMF, at least for those customers. The ability to acquire users at less than the amount of money you make from that curve represents your true product/market fit.
product market fit retention curve graph

product-market fit retention curve graph

  1. Customers are using it even when it’s broken. If your product is broken and customers are still using it, if you have high retention with a broken product, that’s a clear sign you have PMF. When Facebook started, the user interface was very basic and bland, but no one moved off of Facebook. That was a sign of raw market adoption.

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CUSTOMERS’ FUNCTIONAL AND EMOTIONAL NEEDS

You also must map out the functional and emotional needs of your customers as you may develop a nice-to-have product, not a must-have product — which puts product/market fit further out of reach.

Pressure test whether those customers’ needs are acute or if they’re just nice-to-haves. The functional part is usually more obvious, but the emotional component can be tricky. Your customers generally can’t or won’t name it themselves. You have to probe what they feel and translate what they’re saying into a product.

  • Functional needs: Does it address a clear functional need that users have? This is often why they’ll try it.
  • Emotional needs: Does it address an emotional need that users have? This is often why they’ll tell others about it, unlocking that viral word-of-mouth growth loop that’s so critical.
  • Billion-plus market: Is it in a large, underserved market? Or in a market that can become large? This impacts everything from your ability to fundraise to who may be interested in acquiring you.
  • Breakthrough UX: Is there something novel or unique about the user experience? Does it feel a little like magic when you use it? This last one isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s very helpful, and a lot of successful products had it when they launched.

CONCLUSION

Product/market fit isn’t a one-time point in time that presents itself with trumpet fanfare. New competitors arrive, markets segment and evolve, and things happen—all of which often make it hard to know you’re in the right direction before pressing on the accelerator.

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HOW TO FIND PRODUCT MARKET FIT

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